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Looking Away: Denial and Emotions in Institutional Stability and Change

How Institutions Matter!

ISBN: 978-1-78635-430-3, eISBN: 978-1-78635-429-7

Publication date: 15 December 2016


While there has been increased attention to emotions and institutions, the role of denial and repression of emotions has been overlooked. We argue that not only the expression and the feeling of emotions, but also their control through denial contribute to stabilize institutional orders. The role denial plays is that of avoiding the emergence of disruptive emotions that might motivate a challenge to the status quo. Reflecting on the example of the livestock industry, we propose a theoretical model that identifies seeds for change in denied emotional contradictions in an integration of the cultural-relational and issue-based conceptions of organizational fields.




The authors wish to thank Royston Greenwood, Maxim Voronov, and Peter Walgebach for their extremely helpful comments and support.


Delmestri, G. and Goodrick, E. (2016), " Looking Away: Denial and Emotions in Institutional Stability and Change", How Institutions Matter! (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 48A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 233-271.



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